SiteGround vs Hostgator: Features over Price

Note: I NO LONGER recommend SiteGround. Instead, I choose NameHero Hosting. I suggest you check out my NameHero vs Hostgator comparison instead. Though it wasn’t easy for me, I felt I SiteGround price increases were finally too much. Here’s why I no longer recommend SiteGround.

Hostgator is no-frills, cheap hosting, whereas SiteGround is for power users. While Hostgator focuses on low prices and coupons, SiteGround is more expensive and focuses on features and customer service. The two services have completely different demographics.

SiteGround vs Hostgator: Even in Popularity

According to Google’s search trends, the difference in the popularity of the two web hosts has been slowly disappearing as shown in this Hostgator vs SiteGround comparison chart:

Hostgator vs Siteground Trends over the past 5-years
Hostgator vs SiteGround trends

So, while Hostgator still holds an edge over SiteGround, they’re practically neck and neck in terms of popularity. If you’re thinking of choosing between the two, here are the important differences between them.

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SiteGround vs Hostgator: Pricing

Both SiteGround and Hostgator have deep discounts for their first billing cycle. But there are so many deals on the Hostgator promo code page, that SiteGround can’t keep up. Instead of multiple deals, there are SiteGround coupons for the first billing cycle, going as low as 70% off for the GrowBig plan. But that’s it. SiteGround doesn’t have separate deals for the same plan or upgrade coupons, or anything else.

Here’s a table showing the difference between the pricing and discounts of the starting packages:

Hostgator vs SiteGround Pricing Difference
Offer Price ($) Original Price ($) Discount (%) Coupon Link
Hostgator Hatchling $2.64/month $6.95 71%
SiteGround StartUp $3.99/month $14.99 73% Activate Link

SiteGround is also a lot more expensive than Hostgator once the first billing cycle is up. Many customers have complained about renewal “bill shock” with SiteGround when they suddenly get higher than expected charges after the discounts wear off. In 2020 however, SiteGround took the cake and increased their prices by a massive 50%, with only minimal changes to their features. It’s the reason why I no longer recommend SiteGround.

Verdict: Despite deep discounts, SiteGround can’t compete with Hostgator on price. Hostgator is cheaper, has more coupon codes, and offers a lot of variety in the ways you can claim discounts.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Price Rating:

Hostgator Price Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
SiteGround Price Rating: 1/5 ★☆☆☆☆

Winner: Hostgator

Best SiteGround Alternative: NameHero

As I mentioned above, my recommended alternative to SiteGround is NameHero. I make this recommendation after SiteGround jacked up their prices. NameHero uses LiteSpeed web servers and has all the same features as LiteSpeed. It’s a smaller web host with amazing, personalized customer service. You can check out my complete SiteGround vs NameHero comparison.

Best NameHero Coupon at 70% off:

SiteGround vs Hostgator: Architecture

Hostgator’s architecture is pretty basic for ordinary Linux hosting. Apache is their main server. SiteGround on the other hand uses an intermediary NGINX server that sits in front of Apache and acts as a reverse proxy of sorts. The biggest advantage of this is that SiteGround can offer server-side caching without the need for plugins. This means that your site doesn’t have to work as hard to generate pages once they’ve already been created.

Apart from this, SiteGround also virtually isolates its users with Linux containers. This allows them to give more burstable resources, and the ability to perform maintenance without as many reboots. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I may not appreciate SiteGround’s huge price increases, but they have a first-class architecture that’s thoughtfully designed. They also come out with new features faster than anyone else.

Having said that, SiteGround doesn’t use the LiteSpeed web server, which would make things even faster!

SiteGround vs Hostgator Architecture Rating:

Hostgator Architecture Rating: 2/5 ★★☆☆☆
SiteGround Architecture Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆

Winner: SiteGround

SiteGround vs Hostgator: Backups

The Hostgator backup service sucks. They take non-guaranteed backups once a week, and you have to raise a customer request to restore one. In short, you have to look out for your own backups. SiteGround on the other hand has a fully integrated backup solution. It takes daily backups of your site automatically and stores them for 30 days. During this time, you can restore as many backups as you want. Here’s a screenshot of the SiteGround backup interface:

SiteGround Backups Dashboard
SiteGround Backups Dashboard

As you can see, you can choose to restore either specific parts of your account, or all the files and databases. What’s more, you can create custom backups and restore them whenever you want. The only thing lacking is the fact that all the backups are stored onsite. For that, you can either go with NameHero – which has amazing offsite backups – or use a 3rd party backup solution like DropMySite, which is better than Jetpack backups.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Backup Rating:

Hostgator Backup Rating: 2/5 ★★☆☆☆
SiteGround Backup Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Winner: SiteGround

SiteGround vs Hostgator: Server Caching

Probably the biggest advantage that SiteGround has out of the box is server-caching. With Hostgator, you’ll need to install a plugin on your WordPress installation like WP Super Cache to get the same functionality. SiteGround also has a plugin for their SG Optimizer, but the difference is that all the heavy lifting in SiteGround is done by the server, and not by your website. Shared hosting has limited resources, and anything that can be offloaded to the server rather than your site’s quota is very welcome.

Not many hosts offer server-based caching out of the box without any gotchas. Here’s a list of those that do. Hostgator has server-caching only on its more expensive WordPress plans. SiteGround used to limit its server caching technology for dynamic pages only to the GrowBig and GoGeek plans. But in 2020, it extended it to all plans, including the StartUp one.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Caching Rating:

Hostgator Caching Rating: 1/5 ★☆☆☆☆
SiteGround Caching Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Winner: SiteGround

SiteGround vs Hostgator: Cloudflare Integration

Both SiteGround and Hostgator allow you to connect your site with Cloudflare from the dashboard. However, SiteGround has a special tie-up with Cloudflare that allows users to make use of the special “Railgun” technology. Here’s a screenshot of the Cloudflare dashboard with Railgun enabled for SiteGround servers:

Railgun on Cloudflare with SiteGround servers
Railgun on Cloudflare with SiteGround servers

Normally, only Enterprise users have access to Railgun and it requires a special server configuration – certainly not through shared hosting. But SiteGround’s tie-up with Cloudflare lets you take advantage of this for free. Hostgator on the other hand has no such tie-up.

Personally, I don’t use the Railgun integration. I’ve found it to be a bit buggy and unstable. But hey – maybe it’ll work for you!

SiteGround vs Hostgator Cloudflare Integration Rating:

Hostgator Cloudflare Integration Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆
SiteGround Cloudflare Integration Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Winner: SiteGround

SiteGround Has Better Customer Service than Hostgator

Customer service is the most expensive part of running a hosting business. The problem is scaling. Powerful hardware can handle new customers without increased marginal costs. But hiring and training technically qualified staff to deal with a lot of customers is hard.

SiteGround prides itself on its customer service. They make it a point to hire more than usually qualified staff to deal with tickets and e-mails. I’ve personally been using SiteGround since 2013, and the response times and service is amazing. Recently, SiteGround improved on its customer service packages to let GoGeek users have access to priority customer support which is usually reserved for their cloud and dedicated server offerings.

Hostgator’s customer service is about what you would expect from a popular web host. It’s neither particularly good, nor bad. There are lots of bad reviews of Hostgator customer service out there, but that’s simply a function of how many clients they have. While they don’t have the sophisticated customer service of SiteGround, it’s not terrible.

Verdict: While Hostgator’s customer service is “normal”, SiteGround goes over and above. This is obvious in their hiring decisions, and the effort they put into training and recognizing the achievements of their staff.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Customer Service Rating:

Hostgator Customer Service Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆
SiteGround Customer Service Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Winner: SiteGround

Hostgator Offers More Products than SiteGround

Add-on packages are additional paid services in addition to hosting. For example, all hosts offer domain privacy on the WHOIS database.

Hostgator has quite a few additional packages that you can purchase with shared hosting. For example, the Hostgator SEO package allows you to track basic keywords and pages. I wouldn’t really recommend it though, as you can get the same stuff for free on my other sites. Another Hostgator add-on is CodeGuard. Since there’s no automatic backup and restore like with SiteGround, you probably need a separate solution to take care of that. CodeGuard gets the job done nicely.

SiteGround however, doesn’t offer much in the way of add-ons. The only thing they have is the SG site scanner which will notify you if your site has been hacked as shown here:

SiteGround SG Site Scanner
SiteGround SG Site Scanner

Verdict: If you need more than just plain hosting and want to integrate it with other services like CodeGuard and SiteLock, Hostgator has those available as add-on packages. SiteGround has none of these.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Product Variety Rating:

Hostgator Product Variety Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★
SiteGround Product Variety Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆

Winner: Hostgator

But SiteGround Has More Features than Hostgator

Where SiteGround shines in comparison to Hostgator is the additional value it provides apart from mere hosting. Here are a few additional features that SiteGround offers:

  1. Daily backups + free restore
  2. Site staging
  3. Dynamic server caching
  4. “Hive” isolation from other accounts on the shared server
  5. “Railgun” optimization with Cloudflare

The daily backup and restore functionality alone, is a massive value addition. With it, there’s no need for 3rd party backup solutions with Siteground. If you had to purchase this feature by itself, it would cost more than what you save by choosing Hostgator for shared hosting!

SiteGround’s tiered caching system also speeds up your site so that you don’t need to implement slow caching plugins. However, this is only available from the GrowBig plan and isn’t offered on the cheapest StartUp package from SiteGround.

Hostgator, on the other hand, is pretty bare-bones shared hosting. They have a lot of features on their WordPress hosting packages, but basic hosting? Not so much. The one special feature would be the unlimited disk space on their hosting plans. They achieve this by using HDD drives instead of SSD. So if you need a lot of storage on a basic shared hosting plan, Hostgator is a better choice.

Verdict: All in all, SiteGround shines through when it comes to value additions. It more than makes up for the higher price. And that’s not counting the customer service which I review below.

SiteGround vs Hostgator Features Rating:

Hostgator Features Rating: 3/5 ★★★☆☆
SiteGround Features Rating: 5/5 ★★★★★

Winner: SiteGround

Key Consideration: Do Features Trump Price?

Hostgator is great for basic hosting without complications. It also has unlimited disk space which is valuable for some people. SiteGround focuses on value additions and customer service. It’s more expensive, but it’s worth it if you’re a growing business and looking for peace of mind.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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